MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 21: Patrick Cripps of the Blues celebrates the win with fans during the round 22 AFL match between the Carlton Blues and the Melbourne Demons at Melbourne Cricket Ground on August 21, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

It is always easy to judge the drafting nous of recruiters through an exercise in revisionist history.

With the benefit of hindsight, it is no surprise that the exposed form of young potential AFL draftees can often exaggerate or undersell their potential.

The 2013 Under-18 All-Australian team, despite being created via a selection committee filled with high-performance AFL recruiters and chaired by draft guru Kevin Sheehan, is no exception to this premise.

In this deep dive the careers of AFL players selected in this side are analysed, with the variance in success highlighting the volatility that plagues draft analysis as the 2023 AFL draft looms large.

SEE ALSO: 2010 Under-18 All-Australian team
SEE ALSO: 2011 Under-18 ALl-Australian team


The defenders selected in this side can be broken into three distinct categories: those who struggled at AFL level, those who were unlucky with injury and those who are still playing in an AFL side.

Zak Jones and Darcy Gardiner are two who fall into the latter category, having forged relatively successful careers thus far, albeit without significant plaudits.

Jones remains a part of St Kilda's lineup, having played predominantly as a midfielder since starting his career with Sydney.

Gardiner, who recently signed a three-year deal with Brisbane that will tie him to the club until at least 2025, has become a stalwart in defence as the Lions look to improve on their preliminary final appearance in 2023.

Darcy Gardiner during the round 22 AFL match between St Kilda and Brisbane on August 12, 2022 (Photo by Cameron Grimes / Zero Digital Media)

Liam Dawson was delisted after just 18 games with Brisbane, while Clem Smith played seven with Carlton before suffering the same fate.

Matt Scharenberg was luckless with injury, suffering multiple ACL setbacks throughout his short career en-route to his delisting at the age of just 25.

Kade Kolodjashnij was twice selected in the 22under22 team after impressing at AFL level as a youngster but was unfortunately forced to retire at the conclusion of the 2020 season due to ongoing concussion issues.


This side's cohort of midfielders is filled with household names, with all bar one still on an AFL list.

That unfortunate exception is Billy Hartung, who was delisted in 2020 after 63 games across stints with Hawthorn and North Melbourne.

Luke Dunstan is the only other player that isn't entrenched in the best 22 of an AFL side, having struggled to crack into Melbourne's star-studded midfield after moving to the Demons after 116 games with St Kilda.

No matter what Dom Sheed does for the remainder of his career, he will always be remembered for writing himself into the history books by kicking the winning goal of the 2018 AFL Grand Final from a tight set shot on the boundary line.

MELBOURNE, VICTORIA - SEPTEMBER 29: Dom Sheed of the Eagles and team mates celebrate winning the 2018 Toyota AFL Grand Final match between the West Coast Eagles and the Collingwood Magpies at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 29, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/AFL Media/Getty Images)

While Eagles fans still rave about Sheed's heroics, their crosstown rivals are the beneficiaries of swingman James Aish's continued improvement.

Aish averaged career bests in disposals, marks, inside 50s, clearances and contested possessions in 2022, cementing his spot as an integral part of a young and exciting Fremantle list.

Josh Kelly perhaps has the highest individual credentials of the lot, having won two Kevin Sheedy Medals as the best and fairest GWS player, been selected in an All-Australian side and signed a monster contract extension last year that will keep him at the Harbour City until at least 2029.

He is presently a co-captain of GWS and is considered to be one of the premier midfielders in the competition.

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 05: Josh Kelly of the Giants celebrates a goal during the round 20 AFL match between the Greater Western Sydney Giants and the Melbourne Demons at UNSW Canberra Oval on August 5, 2017 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

However, amidst the accolades of the other aforementioned players, it is Toby Nankervis that has participated in three of the four AFL premierships won by this midfield group.

Nankervis, the current co-captain and number one ruckman at Richmond, is a triple premiership player who epitomises the hard-working culture that underlies the recent success of the Tigers.


The forwards in this side have had the least longevity, with only Jack Billings remaining on an AFL list.

This section is a graveyard of talents that haven't lived up to their initial hype, with almost all of these players winning accolades early in their AFL careers before tailing off into relative obscurity.

Cameron McCarthy typifies this sentiment, having been delisted after playing 70 games and kicking 99 goals across a career with GWS and Fremantle despite showcasing his prodigious talent at times.

Thomas Boyd is another that was expected to have a long and illustrious career before mental health problems caused him to decide in favour of an early retirement.

However, Boyd will always be remembered for playing arguably the best game of his career in the 2016 Grand Final, assisting the Bulldogs in completing a fairytale season by winning the Premiership from seventh on the ladder.

MELBOURNE, VICTORIA - OCTOBER 01: Tom Boyd of the Bulldogs celebrates a goal during the 2016 AFL Grand Final match between the Sydney Swans and the Western Bulldogs at Melbourne Cricket Ground on October 1, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Lewis Taylor surprised many by winning the rising star in 2014 ahead of Western Bulldogs superstar Marcus Bontempelli by just one vote.

He was delisted this year after playing just one game - as the unused medical substitute - in 2022.

Ben Lennon failed to make an impact at AFL level and played just 21 games over four seasons for Richmond, while Darcy Hourigan went undrafted and instead turned his attention to dominating country footy in South Australia.

The only player from this forward line that is currently AFL listed is St Kilda midfielder Jack Billings.

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 21: Thomas Boyd, Joshua Kelly, Jack Billings and Marcus Bontempelli pose on stage during the 2013 NAB AFL Draft on November 21, 2013 on the Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

Billings has drawn the ire of many St Kilda fans after struggling to live up to the expectation of being selected at pick three in the 2013 AFL Draft.

He has played 144 games at Moorabbin amidst a bevy of injury and form issues.


The interchange bench plays host to two previously rookie-listed players who failed to make an AFL debut, a five-year AFL player and (most notably) the reigning 2022 Brownlow medallist.

Lloyd Perris and James Battersby failed to play an AFL game, with Perris now working as a senior assistant coach for the GWS AFLW side.

Mitch Honeychurch played 35 games for the Western Bulldogs, winning drought-breaking VFL premierships with Footscray but failing to break into a successful Bulldogs side.

However, Carlton superstar Patrick Cripps, despite being on the interchange of this side, is the most credentialed player on this list by far.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 18: Patrick Cripps of the Blues poses for photos after winning the 2022 Brownlow Medal during the 2022 Brownlow Medal at Crown Entertainment Complex on September 18, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Morgan Hancock/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

Cripps is a three-time All-Australian, four-time best-and-fairest winner and the reigning Brownlow Medallist.

He is also the current captain of a Blues side seeking to push up the ladder next year after a promising 2022 season.

Whilst his selection in the 2013 Under-18 All-Australian team was no doubt a significant achievement at the time, that team is proof that the form of young AFL hopefuls is an insufficient metric for determining their future success.

2013 Under-18 All-Australian team

FB: Zak Jones, Darcy Gardiner, Liam Dawson
HB: Clem Smith, Matt Scharenberg, Kade Kolodjashnij
C: Billy Hartung, Dom Sheed, James Aish
HF: Ben Lennon, Cameron McCarthy, Jack Billings
FF: Lewis Taylor, Thomas Boyd, Darcy Hourigan
FO: Toby Nankervis, Luke Dunstan, Josh Kelly
INT: Mitch Honeychurch, Patrick Cripps, James Battersby, Lloyd Perris